First of all, Happy New Years Eve!
What is everyone doing to celebrate? I’m heading to Los Angeles today to reconnect with some of my closest friends for the first time since I have been back from Africa (only one week!) which should be great.
I’m still blogging sporadically because despite being home in California, my computer is in San Jose, but I get to pick it up on Tuesday so from there on out maybe I will blog like a real blogger for once. Okay, probably not.
I’d love to do a post reflecting on 2010–it was indeed a VERY crazy year for me–and on the goals I had set for myself at this time last year, but it’s not going to happen now. (Ironically I am still completely on Africa time–what’s a week or two ate so long as it gets done?…) Really quick before I jet out I wanted to post about my New Years Resolution for 2011.
I have a love/hate relationship with resolutions. I do like the idea of sitting down and making a goal for the next year–sort of a fresh start–but they are often forgotten come February. Sometimes it’s because we are too ambitious. If I were to honestly list my resolutions for just the first few months of 2011, it would look something like: get a good job, save lots of money, lose weight, get into kick-ass shape, run a half marathon and a full marathon, become a zumba instructor, find weekly Portuguese tutoring, ace the Economics class that I have to take, learn how to manage money, make my blog awesome, make new friends, sell hundreds of old things on eBay, write a ton, get into grad school, apply for and receive financial aid and scholarships, decide what I want to do with my life.
No wonder I am iffy about making resolutions.
In fact, my most successful resolution year ever was 2009 when I declared on my old blog that I was “simplifying” and that my resolutions were to:
- Wear sunscreen.
- Drink more water.
- Stand up straighter.
Okay, my posture still blows, but I now wear sunscreen religiously and drink a ton of water (usually). Those were EASY and simple life changes that my “resolution” focused on and helped me achieve. (Standing up straighter and flossing daily, however, continue to be out of my reach. Someday.)
This year, my “Resolution” or major goal might be a little bit more difficult: follow a pescatarian diet.
For anyone reading this blog who is unfamiliar with pescatarianism, it is essentially a vegetarian diet with fish added.
Let me say this: I love meat. And I recognize its importance and viability as part of a healthy diet. Chicken wings, hamburgers, corn dogs… I salivate just at the words. So more important question: why am I trying this?
I am not morally opposed to the idea of meat eating in general. I think it IS possible to eat meat responsibly and with a social conscience. However, I think that the meat industry in America is consistently making that more difficult, with unethical practices, growth hormones, and more. While meat options exist that come from humane, sustainable, and local operations, it can be very expensive to eat only local, free-range, organic meat and buying that is not an option for me right now.
In the Western diet, it is all too easy to make meat the center of any meal. All too often, vegetables and whole grains are completely excluded. It is no secret that Americans eat a LOT of meat–way too much--much more than we were intended to eat, and we pay for this with a variety of health problems.I am learning to live and cook for myself in America for the first time this year, and I believe that not eating meat will help me to achieve what is my ultimate goal of the project: adapting a diet that is firmly rooted in vegetables (haha) instead of meat. That way if/when I add more meat back in later it can be as a compliment to vegetables (as it should be) instead of the main event. I think otherwise it would be all too easy to rely on a meat and carb based diet which I have eaten before and have not “felt good” on.
Eating much less (okay, no) meat will greatly reduce my environmental impact.
Following a vegetarian-plus-fish diet opens my eyes to the healthy, veggie options (or lack thereof) at restaurants and stores and is already training me to focus on produce and finding interesting vegetable options. (And on a lighter note, I am the most indecisive person ever when it comes to ordering food at restaurants, and eating mostly vegetarian makes ordering WAY easier. Unforeseen bonus!)
After Africa, I realized that I was eating way too much meat before I left the States (the idea of cooking “meatless mondays” even intimidated me!) and I really wanted to take on the challenge to try living without it and see how I feel.
But why pescatarian?
It is a fact that vegetarians do NOT eat fish and that pescatarianism is a different diet. I decided to try this instead of cutting out ALL animal flesh (ew) completely for a few different reasons.
For many people including fish smoothes the transition between eating meat and vegetarianism. I don’t know if I am going to go fully vegetarian this year but it is a lot easier to conceptualize not eating red meat or fowl when I have fish as an option at restaurants (instead of just pasta with red sauce). It also provides a good source of protein, iron, omega-3s, and Vitamin D, among other things. It IS possible to get an adequate intake of all those nutrients on a vegetarian diet; however, including fish from time to time will make it much easier.
Also, I am training for a marathon starting in 2 weeks. Going fully veg and having to figure out how to get adequate protein from different sources at the same time that my physical activity pretty much triples could be bad.
So those are the basic reasons.
Plus, sushi is my favorite food. There, the truth comes out.
I wanted to do this provisionally for a month (so it wasn’t super intimidating) but really it was an indefinite goal, hopefully for a year. (The only caveat is unless I move short-term to a developing country, where I am not passionate about this to settle for eating plain rice or bread for weeks.) After that I plan to slowly add meat back into my diet but minimally.
So basically, my resolution is to eat vegetables, vegetables and more vegetables.
This is my personal choice and like I said, I do like eating meat and do think it can be done responsibly and be a really crucial part of a very healthy diet. This is just something I have wanted to do for a while just for me, to try it out and see where it goes from there. It might be my most lifestyle-altering resolution yet… perhaps I should go back to standing up straighter.
Happy New Year, everybody!
What are your resolutions?